Choi leads rain-delayed RBC Heritage
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, South Carolina (AP) — K.J. Choi’s early tee time and quick start moved him to the top of the rain-delayed RBC Heritage on Friday.
Choi shot a 67 to get to 5-under 137, one stroke ahead of Robert Allenby and two in front of a group led by former world No. 1 Luke Donald as the second round was suspended because of heavy storms.
Allenby was among 65 players still on the course when the rain hit Harbour Town Golf Links. Officials delayed the round shortly before 3 p.m. and then sent everyone home until Saturday morning after waiting through about 90 minutes of steady, heavy rain.
Allenby has 13 holes to finish when play resumes Saturday morning.
Donald shot a 69 and joined Billy Hurley III (69) and first-round tri-leader Scott Langley (73) in the clubhouse two shots behind Choi. Bo Van Pelt and Ben Martin were also at 3 under early in their rounds.
Masters contenders Matt Kuchar and 20-year-old Jordan Spieth faltered after their strong starts at Harbour Town.
Kuchar, who tied for fifth last week at the year’s first major, had a pair of double bogeys on his first six holes before the rains came and stood four shots behind Choi.
Spieth, who tied for second at Augusta National, had a 74 and was at 1-over 143 — good enough to make the projected cut of 4 over, but well off his opening 69.
Choi was four shots behind first-round leaders Kuchar, Langley and William McGirt at the beginning of the day. Based on his recent play, he didn’t seem likely to make up that deficit.
But Choi had three birdies on the front nine, including one on the difficult, par-4 eighth hole, to get into contention. He caught Kuchar on No. 16, rolling in a 20-footer for birdie.
Choi’s usual schedule had him return home to South Korea after the Masters to help take care of his three children. However, after hearing for years how Harbour Town might suit his game, he decided to play the South Carolina course.
“If you just hit it beneath the trees, it’s a good course to play,” Choi said. “It has very small targets and this course is working well.”
Allenby jumped into second after birdies on the first and second holes and was glad to get out of the inclement weather.
“It’s not fun when it’s blowing 20 miles an hour every different direction and it’s raining at the same time,” he said. “So it was nice get out of there.”
Donald is coming off a disheartening Masters (he shot 79-70 to miss the cut), but he generally plays well at the RBC Heritage. He’s had four top threes in his past five appearances and, with his 69, broke par for the 17th time in his last 22 rounds here.